My Elder Advocate has announced that they have signed their second Franchise Agreement and will open a My Elder Advocate Franchise in Nassau County. The newest franchisee, Bella Kirschner, has years of experience in the senior care market. “We are blessed to have Bella join us in our quest to continue to advocate for elders and their rights.” Said Claudine Halpern, Chief Operating Officer of My Elder Advocate. “Bella’s experience will allow her to hit the ground running.”...

People complain about nursing homes a lot: the food’s no good or there’s not enough staff, and so on. It’s a long list. But the top complaint, according to the federal government, is eviction from a nursing home. Technically, it’s known as involuntary discharge, and in 2015 it brought in more than 9,000 complaints. Now, a couple of states are looking for ways to hold nursing homes accountable for unnecessary evictions. One of those states is Maryland. Brian Frosh, the state’s attorney general, says that, in Maryland, more than half of all involuntary discharges have come from just one small chain of nursing homes run by Neiswanger Management Services, or NMS Healthcare. “Your odds of getting evicted from an NMS nursing home are about a hundred times what they are of any other nursing home in the state,” says Frosh. Maryland is now suing NMS for Medicaid fraud. The suit alleges that the company charged the state for services it didn’t deliver, specifically for discharge planning. Nursing homes are supposed to make sure a resident has a safe place to go. But Frosh says that NMS sent residents with complex medical needs to homeless shelters or to unlicensed board-and-care facilities. For example, according to the complaint, a woman with severe dementia was dropped off in front her son’s home. Someone from NMS “just opened the car door and let her out and drove away,” says Frosh. “Her son found her wandering around several hours later when he came home from work.” The company’s motivation was...

My Elder Advocate has announced that they have signed their second Franchise Agreement and will open a My Elder Advocate Franchise in Nassau County. The newest franchisee, Bella Kirschner, has years of experience in the senior care market. “We are blessed to have Bella join us in our quest to continue to advocate for elders and their rights.” Said Claudine Halpern, Chief Operating Officer of My Elder Advocate. “Bella’s experience will allow her to hit the ground running.”...

Patients in U.S. hospitals who need to be transferred to a nursing home are often left to choose a facility without the benefit of important information, suggests a new study. In many cases, patients only receive lists of nearby facilities, without comprehensive and publicly available information about their quality, researchers found....

Toby Davidow was always tight with her mother, Elaine, a part-time nursery school teacher who was “a very kind, nurturing mother and was very optimistic,” according to her daughter. Elaine and Dennis, Toby’s father, were single-minded in their devotion to their only child. All of which makes the story of their relationship during the last years of Elaine Davidow’s life so surprising. Toby Davidow, a program coordinator in the student affairs office at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., lays the blame on her parents’ live-in caregiver, 58-year-old Ann Fry. With Toby’s father’s cooperation, Fry barred Toby and the rest of her family, including Elaine’s only surviving sister, from seeing or speaking to her for the last three years of her life, from late 2014 until her death in October, at age 72. Toby Davidow said she didn’t even know that for the last three months of her life, her mother, who had multiple sclerosis and dementia, was in hospice care, first in her Cherry Hill, New Jersey, home and then in a nearby facility. Nobody bothered to tell her or other relatives that her mother had died until a week later. By then, Elaine Davidow had been cremated, against the wishes she had expressed before her cognition began failing, according to her daughter. The events over the past years have devastated Davidow. “Especially in the later years, Mom and Dad would travel down to my home in Virginia every 6 to 8 weeks from New Jersey, so that Mom and I could go to the...

According to a UN General Assembly Report, the United States needs to step up its commitment to safeguard human rights and promote the rule of law in its own backyard — specifically, escalating abuse in the U.S. Elder Guardianship system. It’s legal, but is it right? Imagine you’ve worked hard all of your life and suddenly you are deemed incapacitated and are stripped of your dignity and basic individual rights. You have been abducted from your home, isolated from your family, and “placed” somewhere to be medicated while your assets are being pillaged. The authorities that should be protecting you are the ones committing these heinous acts. It sounds like Nazi Germany, but this is happening in the United States today. The victims are seniors. The partners in crime are financial predators and agents of the Elder Guardianship system — attorneys, professional guardians, medical experts, and others who are paid out of the senior’s assets. There are some good judges but many are overworked and some are actively aiding the exploitation. Anyone can file to deem you incapacitated. The entire process from filing an incapacity petition to plenary guardianship where all rights are removed can happen within days. Yet, once you’re caught in the web, it’s almost impossible to break free...

We’ve become aware of some hospital discharge situations that raised a significant element of concern relative to the ability of the discharged patient to select the nursing or rehabilitation facility of their choice. In two recent examples, patients were told that the facility to which they wanted to go and with which they were familiar had “no available beds.” This was not true, as the facilities did have available beds and every morning those facilities contacted the hospitals stating their bed availability. Another patient — not in a position for himself to decide — had two hours for his family to choose the hospital-offered facility that was not convenient for the patient’s family and also was a low-rated Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services facility (two stars out of a five-star rating system). What to do? Trust and verify. Call the facility you want yourself to verify bed availability and its acceptance of your insurance coverage. All the more reason to be familiar with long-term care facilities in your area in the event of a need for their services. Federal law requires that hospitals have a process to identify and plan for Medicare patients’ needs after they are discharged. This discharge will occur when you no longer have a need for inpatient care and are able to go home or have a need for another type of facility. That might be a nursing facility for long term care needs or for rehabilitation services. The secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is charged with...

People complain about nursing homes a lot: the food's no good or there's not enough staff, and so on. It's a long list. But the top complaint, according to the federal government, is eviction from a nursing home. Technically, it's known as involuntary discharge, and in 2015 it brought in more than 9,000 complaints. Now, a couple of states are looking for ways to hold nursing homes accountable for unnecessary evictions. One of those states is Maryland. Brian Frosh, the state's attorney general, says that, in Maryland, more than half of all involuntary discharges have come from just one small chain of nursing homes run by Neiswanger Management Services, or NMS Healthcare. "Your odds of getting evicted from an NMS nursing home are about a hundred times what they are of any other nursing home in the state," says Frosh. Maryland is now suing NMS for Medicaid fraud. The suit alleges that the company charged the state for services it didn't deliver, specifically for discharge planning. Nursing homes are supposed to make sure a resident has a safe place to go. But Frosh says that NMS sent residents with complex medical needs to homeless shelters or to unlicensed board-and-care facilities. For example, according to the complaint, a woman with severe dementia was dropped off in front her son's home. Someone from NMS "just opened the car door and let her out and drove away," says Frosh. "Her son found her wandering around several hours later when he came home from work." The company's motivation was purely...

The transition between hospital to skilled nursing facility presents a key opportunity to reduce hospitalization risk, improve outcomes and save money — but a new study finds that players on both sides often aren’t on the same page. The research team, led by SarwatChaudhry of the Yale Center for Healthcare Innovation, Redesign, and Learning (CHIRAL), identified four major problems that arise during the handoff from hospital to SNF: increasing patient acuity, financial pressures, communication breakdowns and difficulty identifying strong referral partners. “At times, hospital and SNF providers seemed pitted against one another, as each institution remained primarily focused on addressing its own fiscal and performance metrics, with less consideration of the effectiveness or cost of the overall plan of care,” the authors wrote. The study, featured in the November issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, incorporates candid interviews with employees at one hospital and two local SNFs in the Northeast — including an urban, non-profit nursing home and a for-profit, suburban SNF. The skilled facilities were among the hospital’s top 10 discharge sites by volume, and all study participants had direct experience with hospital-to-SNF transitions. The responses were frank. One SNF employee told the researchers that hospitals often overpromised the outcomes that patients would achieve, a particularly concerning trend considering the growing ranks of SNF residents with complex medical issues. “They’re sending them here with the assumption: ‘You’re gonna get rehab. In a couple of weeks, you’re gonna get stronger and you’re gonna go home,’” the SNF worker said. “That...

Patients in U.S. hospitals who need to be transferred to a nursing home are often left to choose a facility without the benefit of important information, suggests a new study. In many cases, patients only receive lists of nearby facilities, without comprehensive and publicly available information about their quality, researchers found. "They’re pretty much just given a list of the skilled nursing facilities in the city and expected to pick among them on their own without information about where they could even get that information," said lead author Denise Tyler, a senior researcher at RTI International in Waltham, Massachusetts. Tyler and colleagues interviewed 138 staff members at 16 hospitals and 25 skilled nursing facilities in eight states in 2015. They also interviewed 98 patients at 14 skilled nursing facilities. All patients were on Medicare, which is the publicly funded health insurance program for older or disabled people. While the interviews were spread across several states, the patients provided "strikingly similar comments," according to the researchers. Patients had received a list of nearby nursing facilities, but not much else. Only four patients reported receiving any information about nursing facilities' quality or where to find that information. Interviews with staff supported the patients' reports, the research team wrote in Health Affairs. Hospitals cited legal restrictions and an emphasis on patient choice as the reasons why they could not supply patients with additional data about nursing facilities. Tyler said hospitals were taking an "extreme view" of the law protecting patient choice. "Our take on it is that it’s still possible to provide...